American doctors could administer the first coronavirus vaccine as early as Monday, after millions of doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech inoculation were shipped to hospitals over the weekend.
Super-cooled trucks and planes crossed the country on Sunday carry the first doses to 50 states following emergency clearance granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday night.
Stephen Hahn, Head of FDA, said on Sunday he hoped the first doses would be given the next day as the United States worked to reduce the spread of the disease. Dr Hahn told CNN news channel: “We have seen reports that hospitals are ready and waiting to vaccinate their health workers. It would be my greatest hope and my greatest desire for this to happen tomorrow.
Friday’s decision of approve the vaccine on an emergency basis, the country was the sixth to give it the green light, after tests showed it was more than 90% effective on average.
the number of doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine that the United States hopes to be able to produce by the end of 2020
The United States has been hit harder by the disease than anywhere else, with new cases, hospitalizations and deaths all continuing to reach record levels. Data from Covid monitoring project showed that more than 223,000 people tested positive on Friday, while 2,477 people have died. Total number of deaths in the United States stands at nearly 290,000 – roughly the same number of Americans who died in action during World War II.
U.S. officials plan to rapidly ramp up production over the next few weeks, with healthcare workers, staff and residents of long-term care homes first.
Workers at PfizerFactories in Michigan and Wisconsin worked throughout the weekend manufacturing and packaging the shipments, under the supervision of officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first shipments will arrive at 145 sites in all 50 states on Monday, mostly to large hospitals that can store the vaccine at -70 ° C. Another 425 sites will receive the vaccine on Tuesday and another 66 on Wednesday.
Pfizer had planned to manufacture 2.9 million doses in its initial batch, but senior administration officials estimate they can reach 40 million by the end of the year.
Dr Hahn said on Sunday he was confident that target would be met, although it would likely depend on whether his organization also grants emergency approval next week for a similar vaccine made by Moderna.
Asked if the FDA plans to allow the Modern vaccineDr Hahn said he did not want to “prejudge this decision”. Separately, Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, told NBC News that Moderna’s vaccine “looks a lot” like one made by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Health officials are concerned, however, that Americans will not trust the vaccine enough to receive it, especially as outgoing President Donald Trump has pressured the FDA to approve it quickly. A poll last week by the Miami Herald found this only half of the employees of public hospitals in the city of Florida wanted to be among the first to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, 15 percent said they had no intention of receiving the inoculation at all.
Dr Collins said on Sunday: “I would like to implore those who are listening to this this morning to really press the reset button on anything they think they know about this vaccine that might make them be so skeptical.”
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